The housing market in most parts of New Zealand experienced something of a spring boost last month, new data shows. Here’s our monthly property market summary.

National median house price on the rise

The Real Estate Institute’s figures for September show that the nationwide median house price lifted 6.6 per cent in September to a record-high $597,000.

Manawatu/Whanganui, Southland, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay all had their highest median prices ever recorded. Prices in Manawatu/Whanganui were up more than 24 per cent compared to 2018.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said the price bump was a result of a number of factors, such as the official cash rate drop in August, and the continued lack of supply in many parts of the country.

The number of houses sold in September was 3.3 per cent higher than September 2018.  Auckland showed a spring surge in activity, up 6.3 per cent. Papakura was particularly busy, with sales numbers up 58 per cent. That was followed by Franklin, up almost 19 per cent, Rodney up 16 per cent, Manukau up 15.1 per cent and central Auckland 10.5 per cent.

Tasman had the biggest lift of any region in the country, with turnover up almost 46 per cent, year-on-year.

Confidence is also rising

“After a quiet few months over the winter, the number of properties sold across the country increased by 3.3 per cent in September, the highest number of properties we’ve seen sold for the month of September in three years. This suggests that we’re starting to see the usual spring uplift and also that more confidence is starting to creep back into the market,” Norwell said.

The number of days to sell across New Zealand fell by one day to 35, but by three days when seasonally adjusted.

Sales for less than $500,000 made up just under 41 per cent of the market.

Auctions were used to sell 13.5 per cent of the houses that changed hand in September, a drop from last year but an increase compared to August.

What next for the housing market?

Infometrics economist Brad Olsen said house prices had turned a corner, with “an uptick in price growth over the last two months across the country indicating more momentum is returning to the housing market”.

He said it was likely that loan-to-value restrictions could be loosened further next year, and that, combined with lower interest rates, would continue to drive a rebound in the housing market through 2020.

ASB economists talked about a “spring zing” and said Auckland had shaken off its mid-year stagnation.  “The pick-up in housing activity is now clearly feeding through to prices…we expect the housing upswing to gather pace in coming months.”

Kiwibank senior economist Jeremy Couchman said he expected house price inflation to be running at a rate of 5 per cent or 6 per cent through next year.

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